Communication & Behaviour

We are interested in different aspects of communication and behaviour, which are fundamental functions for the survival of the individual and the group: their implementation, their adaptation in more or less complex cognitive situations, their variability according to social contexts, but also their modification in the case of neurological pathologies.

How do animals use their vocalisations to exchange information and recognise each other? What are the adaptations of communication systems developed according to social and environmental constraints? How is the temporal control of behaviours carried out, from the second to the minute scale? By what neural mechanisms are behaviours and social communication regulated? What neural networks and mechanisms are involved in the development of behaviour from birth to adulthood? What are the neural bases of decision making and the expression of adaptive behaviour? How do social individuals develop? How do neurological pathologies impact behaviour, communication systems and social interactions between individuals, and is this reversible?

Scientists from NeuroPSI’s three departments are studying these questions, both in the laboratory and in the natural environment, with different animal models including Drosophila, fishes, rodents, birds and marine mammals. The methodologies used are very varied and innovative, from the cellular scale to the organism, using behavioural situations of different complexity, from highly controlled situations, through the interaction between two individuals, to the complex study of animals living in colonies, using acoustic tag systems on the animal, tracking of individuals by RFID chips, automated behavioural analysis, connectomics, recording of electrophysiological signals, in vivo brain imaging and optogenetics in animals in behavioural situations, molecular analysis and gene therapy. This knowledge of the mechanisms that underlie the major cognitive functions will allow a better understanding of the deficits observed in neurodevelopmental, neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Coffin Lowry syndrome, schizophrenia, depression, autism, etc.) and to find treatments to prevent, reduce or halt the deleterious impacts of these diseases.